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Pakistan too must respect others’ sovereignty: Qureshi

Nirupama Subramanian


“..permit me to say as well that we too have the responsibility to ensure that there are no actions from here that violate the sovereignty of another country”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday it had no prior information about the U.S. missile strike that killed seven people in South Waziristan hours after a fresh U.S. commitment to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty.

But while addressing the anger at the latest incursion into Pakistani territory by the U.S., a senior representative of the government also stressed that Pakistan too had an obligation to ensure that no actions emanated from its soil that violated the sovereignty of other countries.

On Wednesday, several missiles, fired by suspected U.S. unmanned aircraft, hit a house in Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, the same area where American troops carried out a ground attack on September 3.

Western news wires reported that the compound was used by Taliban militants and Hizb-e-Islami, a group reported to be actively carrying out attacks in Afghanistan

The attack came hours after Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani among others, in what appeared to be an effort to iron out the tensions over unilateral strikes inside Pakistan by American forces.

The U.S. Embassy said Admiral Mullen reiterated U.S. commitment to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Hours later, Pakistan was rudely jolted by the news of another U.S. missile strike in the tribal area.

“We were not informed about the strike,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a press conference.

Mr. Qureshi said the missile strike, coming on the heels of Admiral Mullen’s assurance, pointed to an “institutional disconnect” in the Bush Administration.

“They will have to sort it out,” he said, adding that such strikes were “unproductive”. “Such incursions do not improve the situation, they end up vitiating the atmosphere,” he said.

But he also underlined the need for Pakistan to realise the “existing realities” in our country and the challenges before it.

“Nations have to respect each other’s sovereignty. That is the rule between countries.

But where we expect others to respect our sovereignty, permit me to say as well that we too have the responsibility to ensure that there are no actions from here that violate the sovereignty of another country,” he said.

The problems facing the country could only be resolved though a “long-term strategy”, in which Pakistan also had to fulfil certain obligations towards other countries. It was time for Pakistan to consider if it wanted to make friends in the world, or add to its problems, Mr. Qureshi said.

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